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Re.Sacrament of Confession

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  • Samuel Achen
    Hi, Samuel Achen again from New York. I have seen the comments by Boney Kuriakose, Chennai, Thanks and thanks be to God, As requested we will now look at a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18, 2003
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      Hi, Samuel Achen again from New York.

      I have seen the comments by Boney Kuriakose, Chennai, Thanks and thanks
      be to God, As requested we will now look at a wider Topic.

      How does God deal with humans in communication and how does He bestow
      gifts of grace on them( Pardon me if I am a bit long winded here.) "God
      is Spirit and they that worship Him ,must worship in spirit and truth"
      (Jn.4.24) Man is made of matter, a crature, moulded from the dust of the
      earth(external body) and God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life.
      and he became a living soul(internal or invisible part) So man is a composite
      creature with body and soul.When God (spirit)communicates with man (material
      being ) He assumes material form or shape recognizable by man. God deals with
      man im mysterious ways, Mysterious because man can not explain it.Some
      examples in the Bible are angels, humans, the burning bush,a still small
      voice and most special being Jesus Our Lord. God becoming man is the greatest
      mystery, because man can not explain it. It is inexplicable, incomprehensible.
      We can only wonder. and are awe stricken.The invisible God took visible form
      and dwelt among us. It is a great mystery because what we believe is not what
      we see. We see one thing and believe another. We see a carpenter in Nazareth
      and we believe he is the Son of God,the very God Himself! This as I said the
      greatest mystery/sacramentand this is the basis of our understanding of the
      sacraments of the Church.

      Sacrament , the Orthodx Church calls it Mystery. This is what we sing on
      Maundy Thursday (rahasyam, rahasyam Udayon aruli...) The old and most common
      definition of sacrament is "any of certain religious ceremonies(liturgies)
      of the Church(community of believers called by God) instituted by Christ and
      regarded as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.(uncreated
      energy ) It is a mystery, because we have no words or language to explain
      it ,or it is secretly kept by a community of people among themselves. It is
      a truth unknowable except by divine revealation. It is secret known only by
      those specially initiated (by baptism). For example when we celebrate the
      Holy Qurbana, we see brad and wine,and we believe them to be the Body and
      Blood of our Lord. We can not explain how this transformation has taken place;
      In marriage, we see the bride and the groom, and we believe that they are no
      more two but one body! How we dont know. In sacrament of confession /
      Reconciliation we see the sinner changed into a saint(set apart for God) How
      we donot know to explain. We have several sacraments, usually counted as seven
      and Sacrament of Confession or reconciliation is one of them. Now a days we
      define sacrament as a rite or liturgical action performend by the Church for
      the church, in which God the Holy Spirit brings about a transformation in the
      visible objects or persons by His invisible grace. They are channels or means
      through which Christ continues to bestow or offer salvation to the faithful.
      When Christ was in the world as the Incarnate Lord He offered salvation to
      people who approached Him (Salvation here may be considered as healing, from
      the word salvage, to make healthy, or to repair and put( a boat) in running
      order, or heal body and soul) Now Christ is not with us in bodily form . He
      works salvation through His body the Church. Sacraments are the means by which
      Christ brings salvation to people(sorry for repetition) So Christ is the
      chief celebrant in all sacraments. Holy Spirit is the One , or the Spirit of
      Christ that brings about the Change or transformation Now let us look at the
      sacrament of Confession or sacrament of Reconciliation or sacrament of
      repentence.(all these names describe the same thing depending on the major
      emphasis)

      Suppose a child says some thing to his mother in an angry mood, because he
      didnot like what his mother did or said. later he realized that by saying it
      he had hurt his mother's feelings and runs to the mother and says Sorry mom
      I didnot mean to hurt you, And Mum says <O dont worry I didnot take it all
      that seriously , forget it. Or you walk and step on some one's toe and it
      hurts that person, You say, I am sorry, please for give me. The person on
      whose toe you stepped on will usually say (if he is a gentle man)), it is
      Ok. I forgive you fot stepping on my toe, forget it. Here, there are many
      things going on. There was a relationship of love between the mother and
      son. or cordiality between the two people who were walking by. This is a
      relationship between two people, this is broken by a bad word or bad
      behavior. So the relationship is broken. We say sorry to the person and he
      accepts the apology and we mend fences and the relatioship is restored, we
      become friends again, This is what is going on in our every day life. If I
      now put it in theological terms or the terms used by the Church. The mother
      and son lived in harmony in love and fellowship. This harmony was brken by
      a hard word by the son to the mother, and the broken relationship is called
      a sin, So when the son said something to the mother , he had sinned against
      his mother, They now have a broken relationship. This relationship has to
      brought back to normal again, So the son has to say sorry for what he has
      done or said. This means the son had a chage of heart . He felt sorry for
      what he has said and he expressed it to his mother. This is called
      repentence and he expressed it openly by saying to the mother, Mom I am
      sorry. Then the mother accepted the change in him and forgave him by sayng
      it is O.K son I forgive you.So the former relationship of mother and son is
      restored. It is by conciliation , and so we call the process
      Re-conciliation.There is an external change and an internal change. External
      change, they are no more at odds, Internal change their loving relation ship
      is restored. An excellent example is the Story of the Pordigal son or the
      story of the forgiving Father told by our Lord as reported by St. Luke in
      his Gospel chapter 15. Verses 11-32. please read this portion and see the
      various elements in the process of estrangement between the son and the
      father, How he hurts the father by demanding his portion of e=wealth(which
      was the father's sustinence) How he went away far from the father's
      influence, lived a riotous life, wasted every thing, became miserable and
      lonely. Finally he sat down, thought about his former relationship,
      determined that he will go and tell the father that he had sinned and ask
      for forgiverness. He went and the father received him with great affection
      and welcomed him back reconciled with him and the former glorious
      relationship wa restored. This is what happens when some one one feels sorry
      for what he has done against God or his fellow human being,he repents and
      sheds tears ( he washes himself clean with his tears, and so confession is
      also called second baptism)

      Like the prodigal son any one feeling sorry for his sins can confess to God
      Almighty and say sorry and be forgiven by God. No problem . He will be
      reconciled with God And he will be forgiven by God and his relationship
      with God will be restored if his repentence is genuine Let me stop here now.
      The next part will be why we have to go to a priest for confession.
      God bless,

      Samuel Achen. N.Y
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